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Endless Becoming — The Process of Lifelong Learning in Music amid a Landscape of Expectations, Goals, and Perceived Success

As a society, we are increasingly driven by immediate gratification. As artists and performers, this terrain can be quite tricky. We are encouraged to make goals and chase them, to dream, to look for inspiration from examples of excellence all around us. Yet it is often those same examples that lead to comparing, judging and negative thoughts. The goals we set in earnest can easily morph into unrealistic expectations, which in turn can lead to disappointment. Artists can find happiness and satisfaction at every level of the industry, yet so many that have found conventional success nevertheless find themselves unfulfilled. Meanwhile, thriving artists full of confidence and passion can be overlooked and judged for not meeting the conventional ideas of success. We’re often told to focus on the process, but in a business overly concerned with one’s lists of achievements and their timely execution of certain skills, it is easy to strive for results and miss the process altogether. In this article, I hope to offer different perspectives on success and how to manage goals and expectations in a healthy way. I offer practical advice for how to bring process-learning into our practice and performances, and how to find peace with every point on each artist’s unique path of endless becoming.
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